Apple/AT&T/iPhone - Everything that's wrong with the cellphone industry wrapped up in a single package

If there's one industry that makes my blood boil more than any, it's the cellphone industry. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that there's not one part of the chain that doesn't annoy me in one way or another.

If there's one industry that makes my blood boil more than any, it's the cellphone industry. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that there's not one part of the chain that doesn't annoy me in one way or another.

First, there's the cellphone makers. Cellphones have been around for years but they're still mostly an ugly compromise of features and performance. Keyboards, screen, interface, battery life, and other features are all still a mess in my opinion. Sure, some handsets are better than others (for example, for all its flaws, I like the Nokia E71), but manufacturers seem bad at building on what they learned previously (take, for example, Nokia's E75 ... nice handset, good keyboard, but the handset is plagued by faults and flaws and the battery life is something like half that of the E71 thanks to the inclusion of a smaller battery).

Apple's no different. Despite being crowned as the apotheosis of handsets, users had to wait years for basic features such as MMS and cut/copy/paste. They keyboard is very much a like it or not affair (personally I've always found it to be awful for dialing and texting), and the battery life sucks. Sure, it's a pretty handset, but once the battery is dead it's little more than a fancy paperweight.

Then there are the carriers. Where do you even begin to point out the problems here? Woefully underfunded infrastructure is probably a good start. Given the prices that customers are charged, users should pretty much never be out of coverage on urban areas, and dropped calls should be few and far between.

While on the subject of pricing, what century do the carriers live in? Let's take the iPhone 3G S on AT&T as an example. First, $30 for a data plan. $30! Each and every month. That's just for starters. To be fair, that data plan is far more generous than what some carriers offer, rationing out megabytes with an eye-dropper.

Then there's call plans, starting at $40 a month. Want the freedom on unlimited and that'll be a whopping $100 a month. But remember that $30 data plan, so that iPhone is already at costing you $130 a month. Then there's text messaging. How on earth can any carrier justify a price of $0.20 per text message which consists of 140 characters I don't know. Are these being routed via the International Space Station or something? Want to send as many texts as you want for a fixed cost? That'll be another $20 a month!

You're now hemorrhaging $150 a month for the privilege of having that iPhone connected to a network that may or may not deliver the goods when you want it to. Compare this to the average of $39 a month that people pay for broadband and you realize how hard cellphone owners are being chiseled.

Then there's the insane lengths that carriers and cellphone manufacturers will go to put cash over customers. Today's story of how Apple has started blocking Google's Voice app is just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless issues relating to tethering, VoIP and other uses for data plans that carriers are simply dragging their heels over or simply ignoring. For example, why do US customers still not have MMS or tethering for the iPhone? Given the premium status of the device, it just doesn't make sense that users are happy with the current situation.

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All